Yo La Tengo
And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out
Let’s play a game of word association. What comes to mind when you hear the music on Yo La Tengo’s new album… understated? mellow? languid? The music on And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out is like that sleepy euphoria of being half awake one morning thinking it’s a work day and realizing you can return to the land of slumber… because it’s Saturday! Yes, a wonderful feeling indeed.
The husband and wife team of Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley have been known to favor the sullen side of rock, but this one flirts with the edge. Gone, for most of the album, are the noisy guitar layers in favor of clean echo and distant percussion. The opener, “Everyday,” begins with a minute of instrumental ambience before the vocals kick in. The band doesn’t even lift their collective heads until the seventh track, “You Can Have It All,” a twisted cover of ’70s disco songwriter George McCrae. “Cherry Chapstick” is the liveliest of the lot. The guitar solo is reminiscent of faulty industrial machinery. Even at this tempo, there’s still a shoulders-shrugged, what’s-the-use feel to it.
Yo La Tengo’s affinity for freeform music is never more obvious than in the 17-plus minute finale, “Night Falls on Hoboken.” Sometimes this leads the album on a dangerous tightrope of droning monotony, but after further consideration, the songwriting shines through.